One of the most elusive aspects of history, and perhaps insurmountably so, concerns what people felt, thought, and dreamed.  Yet the endeavour to explore this is crucial to have a sense of history which is more nuanced than a series of more or less provable events and happenings.

So I liked this reminder, by an excellent historian who writes with verve and insight, that the people of the past whom we study slept, and in sleeping, dreamt.

‘The historian is in danger of forgetting that his subjects spent much of their time asleep, and that, when asleep, they had dreams.’ 


Source: Quoted in Peter Brown,The World of Late Antiquity AD 150-750 (London: Thames & Hudson, 1971 (1995)), p. 49

Photo credit: DarkWorkX at pixabay – the photo is of a glorious four poster bed at Harewood House


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